Navigating the Complex Path of Progressivism and Antisemitism

Growing up in New York in the aftermath of World War II, my early years were shaped by a community of German immigrants—a mix where some, unfortunately, carried with them the remnants of Nazi ideology. This was a time when the horrors of the Holocaust were still fresh in the collective memory of the world, yet there was also a palpable sense of hope and reconstruction. Germany, the nation that once orchestrated unimaginable atrocities, has, over the decades, transformed into one of Israel’s staunchest supporters. This evolution is a testament to the possibility of change and the power of confronting one’s historical demons.

My political awakening came during the Vietnam War, a period marked by widespread protest, societal upheaval, and a fervent call for peace and justice. Like many of my generation, I found myself aligned with the progressive liberal movement, drawn to its ideals of equality, freedom, and anti-war sentiment. It was a natural fit for someone who believed in the fundamental rights of all individuals and the importance of standing up against oppression.

However, the political landscape, much like the social one, is never static. Over the years, I’ve observed shifts within the Democratic Party that have increasingly concerned me. The party I once identified with closely has, in some segments, shown a troubling tolerance for antisemitism. This is not to paint all Democrats with the same brush, but rather to acknowledge a growing trend that cannot be ignored. It’s a painful realization for someone who has always considered themselves a progressive liberal.

The rise of antisemitism within certain circles of the democratic party is particularly disheartening when viewed against my personal backdrop of protesting for peace and equality. It seems contradictory that a movement that champions the rights of the marginalized could also harbor such prejudice. Yet, history has shown us that antisemitism can infiltrate any society, ideology, or political affiliation. It’s a poison that knows no bounds.

This shift has been a significant factor in my decision to make Aliyah and move to Israel. In a world that feels increasingly hostile, the safety and security of the Jewish state are paramount. While the Republican Party has shown strong support for Israel, the overall political landscape in the United States is deeply polarized,  marred by corruption and what can only be described as madness on both sides of the aisle. My allegiance lies not with a party but with the land that has been a beacon of hope for Jews worldwide.

The decision to move to Israel is not just a response to political disillusionment but a proactive step towards safeguarding a future for myself and my descendants in a country that stands as a testament to Jewish resilience and sovereignty. The existential threat that Israel faces is real, and its importance cannot be overstated. In the end, the survival and prosperity of Israel are what matter most to me.

Reflecting on my journey from a young progressive protester in New York to a soon-to-be Israeli citizen, I am reminded of the complexities of identity and belief. My core values have not changed—I still believe in justice, equality, and peace. However, my understanding of how these ideals intersect with real-world politics has evolved.

Antisemitism, wherever it arises, must be confronted with the same vigor we apply to fighting other forms of hatred and bigotry. It’s a difficult path to walk, filled with contradictions and challenges, but it is necessary. For the sake of our collective humanity, we must strive to create a world where understanding and respect bridge the divides, and where the Jewish people, like all people, can live in peace and security.

As I prepare for this next chapter in Israel, I carry with me the lessons of my past and a hopeful gaze towards the future. The struggle for a better world is ongoing, and each of us has a role to play in it.

About the Author
Joel Steinberg is 74 years old and has a online diabetes program for type 2 diabetes. His plan is to have a separate program in Israel after making Aliyah., this spring. His main website is He is a strong advocate for Israel and wants to contribute what he can.